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Posts Tagged ‘Papua New Guinea’

Peter O’Neill’s illegal logging: 333 days and counting…

May 23, 2014 Leave a comment

count - 333

It is now 333 days since Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was informed that the SABL leases were unlawful and should be revoked. It was on June 24, 2013 that he was given the reports of the SABL Commission Inquiry.

For 333 days O’Neill has ignored the Commission of Inquiry findings, refused to revoke the SABL leases and been complicit in the illegal logging of forest resources by foreign logging companies.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has aided and abetted the theft of logs worth hundreds of million of kina and the destruction of thousands of hectares of pristine forest.

Read more about who, where and exactly how much is being stolen.

peter-o-neill

Robber barons still actively engaged in PNG

May 22, 2014 3 comments

Lester Seri

Rimbunan Hijau puppets cartoon, 2003In the 80′s, the Judge Tos Barnet Commission Of Inquiry into illegal logging in PNG established that there were “robber barons in PNG” actively engaged in bribing and engaging in illegal logging and land deals causing inhuman hardship for innocent ordinary citizens and resource owners, right before the eyes of every Governments of PNG.

Since then not one Prime Minister or a Government has taken a decisive decision to appropriately deal with those corrupt companies, individuals, MPs, PMs, and government officials to correct the situation, and unbelievably, it continues to this day. Our people continue to suffer in the hands of these corrupt foreign companies supported by the the Government and corrupt ‘middlemen’.

Incomprehensible is, the Government so freely and willing breaks every law in the country to give away peoples land and resources to foreigners without their consent and even sits back and watches as the people scramble around to find ways to fund expensive court cases to get their land and resources returned back to them.

In PNG we have a serious problem where, no government seriously cares for it people. As much as I dont want to believe it, the sad truth is, all those noble statements made about the sovereign rights of the nation and the people i the Constitution seem to mean nothing in practice today.

Villagers secure victory over Malaysian land grabbers in Papua New Guinea

May 21, 2014 8 comments

The people of Collingwood Bay in Papua New Guinea have won back their land from Malaysian loggers and oil palm companies after a hard fought battle in which that received support from many groups and individuals both in PNG and overseas, including Oro Governor, Gary Juffa.

Collingwood Bay. Photo Eric Wakker RAN

Collingwood Bay. Photo Eric Wakker (RAN)

The National Court in Port Moresby has declared that two Special Agriculture and Business Leases covering 38,350 hectares of land are null and void and ordered the Sate to cancel the title deeds..

Spokesperson for the landowners, Lester Seri, said last night “the Village people got the news of the Court decision and are celebrating and shedding tears in jubilation”.

The leases were originally issued in July 2012 to two PNG registered companies, Sibu Management Limited and Wanigela Agro Industrial Limited. But in October 2012 Kuala Lumpur Kepong (KLK) a Malaysian oil palm company announced that, together with Malaysian investment company Batu Kawan, it had acquired the rights to the land  – via a third company, Collingwood Bay Plantations.

The two leases were issued by the Department if Lands despite a government moratorium on new SABLs and a Commission of Inquiry which was on-going at the time, as we revealed in 2012.

The Commission of Inquiry found more than 5 million hectares of land in PNG has been fraudulently leased using the SABL mechanism, but the government has failed to implement the Commission recommendations and revoke the unlawful leases.

Lester Seri says “while our people are celebrating they are mindful of the innocent families and other communities struggling thought the country with the same problem, particularly in Turubu, Pomio and elsewhere and in East Sepik, East New Britain and Oro Provinces. We are urging the government to take a firm and descisive decision in dealing with the CoI recommendations by cancelling all the illegal leases. Court cases are expensive and beyond the means of most village people”.

For Collingwood Bay the court has accepted that the customary landowners never gave their consent to their land being leased and that the lease applications contained serious flaws.

When the applications for the leases were made with the Department of Lands it was not revealed the land in question was customarily owned and the survey paln referred only to a small block of land that was acquired by an Anglican mission over 100 years earlier.

The legal victory will be a serious embarrassment for KLK, a member of the international Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), Batu Kawan and the RSPO.

In April 2013  the Collingwood Bay landowners filed a formal complaint with the RSPO pointing out that KLK’s involvement in the leases breached RSPO policies but the Roundtable has not taken any action against KLK.

Momis defends his Australian puppeteer Anthony Regan

May 20, 2014 2 comments

Bougainville’s President has a reputation for towing the line set by his Australian advisors. First there was the epic failure of his ‘Bougainville Initiative’ which was, we hear, the brainchild of a Melbourne based advisor, who scurried away in 1987. The initiative was a ham-fisted attempt by Momis to get a larger share of mine revenues for the North Solomons Province, by offering Rio Tinto access to the island’s other ore deposits,.

Now John Momis dances to the tune of a Canberra lawyer, Anthony Regan, brought to Bougainville by the Australian government – for a mere K680,000 – to advise the ABG on mining, and draft legislation that will facilitate Rio Tinto’s return.

So close is Regan to the President that his views seem to miraculously appear in the President’s speeches to Parliament – clearly ‘great minds’ think alike.

This is what Regan said in 2011:

“The conflict is not originally about total opposition to mining. It was much more about the unfairness of the distribution of revenue and benefits from the mine”.

This is what Momis told parliament in 2013:

“I believe that it is not really the Panguna mine that caused the many problems and the conflict Bougainville has experienced since the 1960s. No – the real problem was the fact that we Bougainvilleans were ignored. The mine was imposed on us. We had no role in decision-making. Without our consent, the bad impacts of the mine fell on us. All we received was a small dribble of the revenues and opportunities”.

This is what Regan said about BRA figurehead, Francis Ona, in 2011:

“Even Francis Ona has wrongly portrayed, the original leader of the BRA, he’s wrongly portrayed by many in Australia as an environmental warrior. He wasn’t. He was somebody who was using the environmental issues and the damage from the environment from the mine as a way of emphasising the point that the damage being done in Bougainville was significant and the revenue should be flowing much more to Bougainvilleans”.

This is what President Momis told parliament in 2013:

“Francis was not trying to end the mine for ever. No – his complaint was about the unfair treatment of Bougainville. He wanted the rights of Bougainvilleans recognised. He wanted fair distribution of the revenue”.

Of course, independent blogs have published on numerous occasions Francis Ona’s ACTUAL views, backed up by something the President and his advisors are immune to, evidence. Francis was unequivocal in his opposition to BCL and the mine, as demonstrated in personal correspondence written during the conflict.

But the spin doesn’t end there.

Here is what Regan said in about Sam Kauona in 2011:

“ABC: I spoke to Sam Kauona and Joseph Kabui, two of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army leaders and asked them if they ever thought the mine would reopen and they were both vehemently opposed to it and said no, it started this war, we don’t want it happening ever again.

DR REGAN: Yes, and in due course, both of them have become supporters of the reopening of mining”.

Fast forward two years, and this spin finds its way into President’s Momis vocabulary:

“The former commander of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army, Sam Kauona, is now on side and in agreement with the need to re-open the mine.”

Yet, these claims seem to contrast with Kauona publicly stated position on the mine captured on video in 2013, lest there be any ‘confusion’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZMOWpvD9W0#t=10

But of course, evidence is a relative entity. In a debate with UK academic, Regan has suggested that the mountain of data collected to date documenting BCL/Rio Tinto’s role in PNGDF offensive operations – including ADMISSIONS by senior executives at BCL, corroborated by internal BCL documents – are ‘not credible’.

And it is these types of logic-defying statements that led MP for Central Bougainville to raise concerns about Regan’s independence.

Yet what is most telling of all, is the high pitched response from the President’s office. Something of a panic has set in, as Momis faces the prospect of losing the power behind the throne. Like with the Bougainville Initiative in 1987, Momis is rudderless without his Australian support team.

Why is Trade Minister Richard Maru the sole shareholder in an oil palm company and a ‘multi-billion dollar’ project?

May 19, 2014 3 comments

richard_maru

CAN WE TRUST THE PRIME MINISTER AND HIS MINISTER RICHARD MARU?

JOHN ENDEMONGO KUA | PNG Blogs

Last week both Peter Oneil and Richard Maru scampered out out of a chopper soaked in urine after an over view of the fertile Sepik plains where they are scheming a grand oil palm project which will require a capital input of K100 million to lay down the infrastructure and other establishment costs in partnership with Wilmar International a leading agro industry corporation specialing in palm oil and other seed oil products.

Richard Maru

From the outset it looks promising for the local landowners and the people of East Sepik and the nation to actually undertake a major agriculture project that will roll out spin off benefits through employment and related industries which will create wealth and earn us the much needed export dollar needed to strengthen our economy and social welfare.

However the shady part of the project is the lack of transparency and misinformation by the proponent of the project and the governments media unit that have failed to present the facts of the project to the landowners and the provincial and local governments who are going to be the stake holders in this gigantic agriculture project in the Sepik plains.

Firstly the portion of land described as 144C has already been leased to Sepik Oil Palms Plantations Limited who are operating and managing the Turubu oil palm project, and therefore is not vacant to lease out to a new tenant. Secondly, the information fed to the local level government leaders and landowners is that it is a government owned project which will benefit the community in general, when in actual fact is misleading in that the company that is to receive government subsidy to kick start the oil palm project is a private entity owned by the minister for trade and industry, Richard Maru as its single share holder with two Directors in John Andrias and Vele Ila ‘ava as the Directors who are both departmental heads.

Sepik Agro Industries LTD remains a private entity owned by Richard Maru and does not have a shareholders structure that involves the landowners and the national government, provincial or the local government so why should the state invest K100 million for the benefit of a single individual who has used deception so far to benefit himself and his cronies. Wilmar International is a high profile company with an investment portfolio worth more than $200 blllion so what is the arrangement for them to enter as equity partners or project managers and consultants?

One thing for sure is that Richard Maru may have picked up some tips from the former minister for Trade and Industry Gabriel Kapris who persuaded the government of PNG to promote foreign investment with an unknown Korean fraudster posing as an investment conglomerate only to rip landowners funds in MRDC to the tune of K100 million only to disappear into thin air leaving behind an empty and worthless sandhill castle not worth a single dime. The Ombudsman Commission should prosecute Richard Maru for fraud and corruption and dismiss such characters from holding public office.

O’Neill backs oil palm project

Post Courier

sepikopPRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has thrown his support behind the multi-billion behind the Sepik Plain oil palm project in East Sepik Province.

The prime minister, who was in Yangoru Saussia District, did a couple of presentations on strengthening infrastructure there to help facilitate the project.

“My government is committed to the Sepik Plain oil palm project and we expect State negotiations to be completed and project agreement signed before the end of June, at the latest,” said the prime minister.

He also stressed that it is important to develop industries both within East Sepik Province and the country as a whole.

“This oil palm industry that will be developed in the Sepik Plains will bring tangible and major benefits to not only people in Yangoru-Saussia and East Sepik Province but the country as well”, said the Prime Minister.

He urged the people of Yangoru-Saussia District to refrain from trying to stop major impact projects in the district, but to work with their leaders under the leadership of minister Maru to bring change and development.

“If you have disagreements, sit with your leaders and sort these issues out and don’t try and disrupt impact projects that will lead to people missing out on developments and opportunities,” he said.

He said the national Government is committed to developing the agriculture sector in the country because non-renewal resources like gold, copper, gas and oil will run out but not the land.

“We must make agriculture to become the economic empowering tool for the people,” said the Prime Minister,” said the Prime Minister.

He also presented two vehicles to the oil palm project manager Thomas Yehiwara to kick start initial works on the multi-billion kina project.

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 326 days and counting…

May 16, 2014 2 comments

326

It is now 326 days since Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was informed that the SABL leases were unlawful and should be revoked. It was on June 24, 2013 that he was given the reports of the SABL Commission Inquiry.

For 326 days O’Neill has ignored the Commission of Inquiry findings, refused to revoke the SABL leases and been complicit in the illegal logging of forest resources by foreign logging companies.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has aided and abetted the theft of logs worth hundreds of million of kina and the destruction of thousands of hectares of pristine forest.

Read more about who, where and exactly how much is being stolen.

peter-o-neill

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 324 days and counting…

May 14, 2014 Leave a comment

count324

peter-o-neill

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 322 days and counting…

May 12, 2014 1 comment

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O’Neill’s illegal logging: 319 days and counting

May 9, 2014 Leave a comment

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peter-o-neill

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 318 days and counting…

May 8, 2014 Leave a comment

count 318

It is now 318 days since Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was informed that the SABL leases were unlawful and should be revoked. It was on June 24, 2013 that he was given the reports of the SABL Commission Inquiry.

For 318 days O’Neill has ignored the Commission of Inquiry findings, refused to revoke the SABL leases and been complicit in the illegal logging of forest resources by foreign logging companies.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has aided and abetted the theft of logs worth hundreds of million of kina and the destruction of thousands of hectares of pristine forest.

Read more about who, where and exactly how much is being stolen.

peter-o-neill

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